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Q&A: The creators of Digg, StumbleUpon and Netvibes on Web 2.0's future

'Content is king,' says's Kevin Rose

September 27, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Kevin Rose and Tariq Krim, the respective founders of online social network and news aggregation sites Digg and Netvibes, and Garrett Camp, founder of Web browser plug-in site StumbleUpon fielded questions from Jason Pontin, publisher of MIT's Technology Review magazine during a panel discussion at the university's Emerging Technologies Conference in Cambridge, Mass., this week. Rose alluded to upcoming new predictive analysis functionality on his site and all three of the entrepreneurs spoke about the changing landscape of social networks, advertising and distribution of media content.

Excerpts from that panel discussion follow:

How are people consuming media in a different way? Camp: I think the difference now is that in the past people tended to consume the media and read it, but there wasn't really direct feedback on the scene. I think now with Digg and StumbleUpon, you definitely have the opportunity to provide feedback immediately when you see something. It gets really interesting for [the] people producing feedback as well because they now have immediate feedback from the community and audience they're trying to get to. I think the days of not knowing how people are responding to your message are over.

Rose: I started Digg back in October or November of '04. It took a long time for people to grasp the concept that they have a say in what makes up the front page of a Web site. I was a big fan of Slashdot and at the time; Slashdot because it was all user-submitted content, but it was still a handful of people who would choose if a story made it to the front page. And was very cool because I used it to bookmark and share my bookmarks, but it really didn't apply to news. So when I was looking at this, I could see people were starting to share information in a different way, and that they wanted to have a voice. For us, it was really just an experiment to see what would happen if you gave complete control back to the community.

Krim: When I started Netvibes, basically, I couldn't browse enough information. There was so much information available on the Internet before Netvibes, I was using blog site RSS aggregators. One of the key new things with the Web and social media is the attention it ... put on things. We have this competition from media and blogs, but also people because if you see how Facebook ... works, people are becoming [the] media. I do things, I select things. I basically produce information and this information is coming to me in competition with the New York Times. So we have this big issue of how do we manage our attention.

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